Re: One humanity, all in the same boat

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sun Dec 23 2001 - 22:05:07 MST

Spike Jones wrote:
> "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" wrote:
> > Well, that's what it's really about. I think it'd be nice if everyone who
> > agrees with this reasoning posts a "Me too!", and everyone who disagrees
> > with the argument but agrees with the conclusion posts a note saying that
> > as well. Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
> >
> >
> I think probably everyone would agree that we want a colorblind
> world. But wanting that doesn't get us there, by itself.
> A few days ago, Damien made a comment about the hippies'
> desire to decree away jealousy, free love for all, etc. But that
> did not make it go away. Today no one even pretends we know
> how, as a society, to do away with jealously.

You don't do it "as a society". You do it person by person with
hopefully societal support or at least sufficient saturation
eventually occurring. But it still happens one person at a
time. Luckily, there is parallelism.

> We find in ourselves many examples of socialization that are
> no longer useful, yet many of us find it difficult or impossible
> to simply turn them off. We seem to have been hard wired.

Difficult. Not impossible.
> We want a world of peace. Wanting it doesn't get us there.

Will you practice peace in everything you do? It starts there
if you really want this and ifit starts at all.

> "Last night I had the strangest dream Id ever dreamed before,
> I dreamed the world had all agreed to put an end to war.
> I dreamed I saw a mighty room, the room was filled with men,
> the paper they were signing said they'd never fight again."
> But we did fight again. Good chance we will fight again.

Decide and live by your decision. There is no other way.
> We want a world free of racism. But how do we get to the
> perspective of species-wide unity? Just by thinking about
> transhumanity, uploading AI and the singularity?

Good question. No I don't think that is all you need. It would
help to think and act in terms of all of humanity for a change
or at least come up with why you think that won't work and what
if anything can be done to change it. Most of the time the
default assumption seems to be that of scarcity. With that
assumption thinking in terms of all of humanity is a losing
proposition because we don't believe there is enough to do
reasonably well by everyone. To the extent that is true (and I
don't believe it is very true even now), better technology
(especially licking energy and production/distribution problems)
is an enabler. But if the attitude doesn't shift and most
importantly, if why we are developing the technology doesn't
include upfront committment to the good of all of humanity
(instead of simply maximizing profits) then better technology
alone will not do the job. Attitudes, goals and committment to
those goals are crucial to these kinds of change.

> Is that really
> all we need? Are there any wetware changes, physical
> modifications we need to do? Are we not hardwired to
> compete? To fight?

Not so much that it can't be overcome even without rewiring
ourselves physically imho.

> To favor those who are more genetically
> similar to ourselves? To be jealous of others' amorous attention
> to our mates? Can we really decree all this away, just be wanting to?

We are not automatons to such a deep degree that we cannot
choose how to act to at least some extent. If we were we would
not be at this very different sort of life than what most of our
evolution geared us for.

> I hope so. But I may be a bit less optimistic that you are,
> Eliezer. Thought provoking post, tho, thanks! {8-] spike


Optimism, in the sense of determination to find a way to what is
more optimal for our survival and thriving, might be required
for us to even put much effort into these things.

- samantha

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:30 MDT